The second annual “This Is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament” is currently underway. The purpose of the tournament is to pit Star Wars characters against each other and bring the community together to vote for fan favorites. Jedi Master Yoda led the Light Side into victory and was crowned the winner of 2013 by defeating Darth Vader. Out of 32 characters, only four were women: Princess Leia, Padme Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, and Asajj Ventress.
This year, the tournament started off with six women, two of which (Mon Mothma and Ahsoka Tano) were included in the play-in matchups. Unfortunately, neither female moved forward, leaving four women in the tournament. In terms of percentages, there are 87.5 percent males and 12.5 percent females, which is a significantly low percentage given the fact that half of the Star Wars fanbase is female.
As a result of this lack of gender diversity, which is in part due to the lack of females in the films, this fan-made bracket was compiled to achieve an ideal level of representation. With a combination of efforts from Johnamarie Macias of The Wookiee Gunner and Austin Blankenship of Far Far Away Radio, this revised bracket, along with their thoughts on character decisions, is located below. To coincide with the apparent pool of characters for the official tournament, choices were limited to the films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Rebels: R2-D2, Wedge Antilles, Princess Leia, Mon Mothma
When it comes to the Star Wars films, female Rebels are far and few in between. Although Mon Mothma was a play-in matchup character this year, she lost to Wedge Antilles. Despite not advancing into the bracket for Rebels, her inclusion was much appreciated by fans seeking gender diversity. In this fan-made bracket, she can easily replace Admiral Ackbar from the official tournament as our fourth Rebel this year. Princess Leia, having the largest role of any female character in the Star Wars films (because come on, she is just flat-out awesome), should advance out of the Rebels section.
With Star Wars Rebels on the horizon, it is with great hope that both Hera Syndulla and Sabine Wren make an appearance in the 2015 character tournament.
Jedi: Shaak Ti, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker
Since Yoda won last year, it seems unfair to include him in this year’s tournament. Additionally, there are a handful of female Jedi in the Prequel Era from which to choose: Luminara Unduli, Barriss Offee, Aayla Secura, Adi Gallia, Jocasta Nu, and Shaak Ti. As the Jedi Council member who supervised the training of clone cadets on Kamino, it seemed fitting to add Shaak Ti to the bracket. Shaak Ti displayed fantastic qualities throughout The Clone Wars series that some of her male counterparts seemed to lack–levelheadedness, decisiveness, and an ability to hold her ground diplomatically.
Unfortunately, Ahsoka Tano lost to Qui-Gon Jinn in the play-in matchups this year. She was in the bracket for 2013, but lost to Chewbacca in the second rounds. Nevertheless, she is included in this fan-made bracket to level the playing field, since Ahsoka is easily the most important. Her growth in The Clone Wars implemented her into the Star Wars lore, putting her alongside prominent film characters. One of the strongest female characters we have ever seen, and at an age that we have seldom seen given focus on-screen, Ahsoka is a terrific role model who deserves this spot.
Scoundrels: Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, Sugi
A female Zabrak with her own code, Sugi is both a bounty hunter and mercenary. So why does she share the spotlight with scoundrels like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian? She’s more of a rogue, living by her own principles and abiding by her own sense of honor, while protecting her clients. Whether you think she belongs here or not, she is a prime example of what future female scoundrels should resemble. You know, capable women with a good blaster at their side and none of that hockey religion stuff.
The scoundrel category was clearly created with Han, Lando, Chewbacca and Hondo in mind, which automatically makes it a difficult spot to diversify. Perhaps we need sections to be broken up in a way that allows room for more characters?
Republic: Padmé Amidala, Riyo Chuchi, Captain Rex, Satine Kryze
Words are just as sharp as any blade and just as powerful as any blaster, and these three women certainly knew how to manage themselves in a battle of a different kind: the political arena. Duchess Satine Kryze and Senators Padmé Amidala and Riyo Chuchi were vocal about their beliefs and stood their ground during the war. These women carried the representation of their people on their shoulders, even in the face of danger. Riyo and Satine, although not as popular as Padmé, are characters part of the Star Wars universe and should be taken into consideration in future matches in order to expose the audience to a wider pool of selections.
Though remaining neutral during her life, Satine was clearly in alliance with Republic characters. If not for her untimely death, it is possible she may have enlisted further help from the Republic to conquer the threat of Darth Maul on Mandalore. It was difficult to remove Fives from the current official list, but Rex is a strong enough character to represent his fellow clones.
Empire and Separatists: Wilhuff Tarkin, Asajj Ventress, General Grievous, Stormtrooper
It is no secret that both Separatists and the Empire lack prominent female players; moreso than the Republic and rebels, respectively. Nevertheless, one character does stand out: Asajj Ventress. Not only is she one of the most well written characters who surfaced from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but Ventress is a skilled fighter with her own agenda and a fearsome opponent.
Although female stormtroopers are a rarity, the possibility of a woman residing behind the iconic helmet still exists. Austin has female friends who costume for the 501st Legion as stormtroopers, scout troopers, and every other type of Imperial soldier. It is a terrific opportunity that women have embraced, and their efforts should be represented both in this tournament and in the fictional Star Wars universe.
Both Ventress and the unidentified female stormtrooper bring awareness to the fact that women can be heroes and complex villains.
Bounty Hunters: Boba Fett, Aurra Sing, Cad Bane, Zam Wesell
In a list of names that should be feared, Aurra Sing’s name should rank at the top. Ruthless and out to save her own skin, she is one of the few female bounty hunters in canon with no remorse. The absence of Aurra Sing might be the biggest shame in the tournament, since she was not even part of the Bounty Hunter play-in round. On The Clone Wars, she quickly became one of the most feared women in the galaxy, showcasing her merciless passion for danger and destruction. Actress Jamie King brought her to life on the show with a brilliant performance, delivering one of the greatest villains of any gender in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Alongside her is Zam Wesell, a shape-shifter who died all too soon in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. She certainly had potential, but her death does not automatically boot her from being involved in a character tournament. Both women have made a name for themselves in their own way and should be highlighted among those that fans consider to be the best.
Sith: Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Darth Sidious
It seems we have hit a road block! Unfortunately, when it comes to the movies and The Clone Wars television series, the Sith category has no women. The intricate villains clad in black with the will to dominate the galaxy are all male. Surely, there must be some women in the galaxy with darkened souls and a red lightsaber to strike fear in the hearts of others. It is with great hope that the sequels and any other stories planned for the future involve female Sith lords in order to diversify this intriguing yet monotonous group.
Underworld: Jabba, Bo-Katan, Talzin, Nala Se
The underworld is full of scum and villainy—characters who operate in questionable business and associate themselves in circles that are equally dubious. As a member of the Mandalorian warrior group Death Watch, Bo-Katan Kryze was involved in terrorist plots and endangered innocent lives. Mother Talzin, the Dathomirian leader of the Nightsisters, dealt in the dark arts. Nala Se, although not the murkiest of characters, did have sketchy qualities as she went from a caring individual to a cold-hearted scientist. All three women were capable of committing villainous acts to achieve their own version of a greater good, and thus, should also be highlighted in this fan-made character tournament.
The bracket presented here is not meant to undermine the official Star Wars character tournament or the hard work accomplished by the staff at Lucasfilm. The purpose is to demonstrate that there are more characters in the Star Wars universe other than the popular faces known by various audiences. The character tournament should take the opportunity to introduce unfamiliar individuals and shine the spotlight on characters that would otherwise be brushed aside. Additionally, after a successful character tournament in 2013, it would have been ideal to include more women in order to reinforce that Star Wars is not just for one particular group. Star Wars appeals to viewers of all ages, sizes, genders, and backgrounds—a diverse character tournament for a diverse fanbase.
Johnamarie Macias is the owner of thewookieegunner.com. She is also a content contributor for Making Star Wars and a co-host on “Now, This Is Podcasting!” Austin Blankenship is co-founder and co-host of Far Far Away Radio.